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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'The Bourne Identity': A Gripping Action Thriller About an Amnesiac Assassin Desperate to Uncover His True Identity

Movie poster for The Bourne Identity

The Bourne Identity (2002) is a forceful and engaging action-thriller starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, an American found floating unconscious in the Mediterranean Sea with multiple gunshot wounds and no memory whatsoever. As he struggles to piece together his identity, Bourne discovers he has extraordinary skills, including hand-to-hand combat and fluency in multiple languages.

Discovering a tiny laser projector embedded in his hip that provides the number of a safe deposit box in Zürich, Bourne travels to Switzerland in search of clues to his origin. His activities draw the attention of Operation Treadstone, a black ops program within the Central Intelligence Agency, which immediately dispatches a trio of assassins to eliminate Bourne. Along the way, he partners with a German woman named Marie (Franka Potente), whom he recruits to help evade Treadstone's operatives while desperately seeking to unearth clues to his past life.

Based on the novel by Robert Ludlum and directed by Doug Liman (Swingers, Edge of Tomorrow), The Bourne Identity is a well-grounded espionage thriller, given an enormous boost by Damon's no-nonsense performance and Liman's gritty brand of storytelling. Tony Gilroy delivers a spot-on adaptation of Ludlum's novel, well-balanced between suspense, character development and well-choreographed action sequences. Exploring themes of identity, betrayal, and the pervasive nature of clandestine government operations, Liman's film scores a genuine knockout while laying the groundwork for a robust franchise of multiple sequels and subsequent spin-offs.


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